250 Angstroms. Keep your books.

How long is the adenovirus fiber shaft?

Internet: 1 hour of clicking through primary literature: nothing.  Lots of mentions of protein sizes, number of repeats, sizes in base pairs, but very little mention of how long the damn structure is.  Signal to noise problem.

Google it: Gave up.  Signal to noise ratio is waaaayyyyyy to low.

Microbiology textbook* published in 1967, purchased in thrift store: 250 Angstroms (took 30 seconds)


*Davis, Bernardo, Renato Dulbecco**, Herman Eisen, Harold Ginsberg and W. Barry Wood. Microbiology. New York: Hoeber Medical Publishing. 1967.  Print.

Thrift store books: 1, Internet: 0

**Renato Dulbecco shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for having demonstrated that cells can be made cancerous by infecting them with certain viruses.  His name blesses a cell culture media that at one point in my life was more important than coffee.  Importantly to the post I was doing this research for, he invented the plaque assay, a method for counting viruses.  An excellent obituary for Renato Dulbecco (from another famous virologist) here. In ~2004/5 I happily sat through a boring lecture at the Salk Institute, given by one Nobel prize winner and attended by 3 others: Francis Crick (two rows in front of me; structure of DNA), Sydney Brenner (down in front; genetics of cell fate determination in C. elegans) and Renato Dulbecco (seated next to me).  Nerd heaven.


About SubOptimist

I am an Associate Professor in the Science Department at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston. I teach introductory biology courses at both the majors and non-majors level in addition to microbiology. Previous to that I spent 7 years as a postdoctoral researcher on different viruses. While I don't miss being on the "grant treadmill", I think better when I write and miss writing up data for papers and grants; this blog helps me with that a little. And sometimes my kids' insanely funny and cute antics need to be shared with the world. Any view expressed in this blog is that of me personally and not Georgia Perimeter College or the GPC Clarkston Science Department.
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One Response to 250 Angstroms. Keep your books.

  1. jaksichja says:

    thanks for stopping by my site–
    enjoy reading your posts–

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